The IMO Council held its 114th Session (C114) from Monday 29 June through Friday 3 July 2015 under the Chairmanship of Mr J Lantz (USA) and his Vice Chair Dr D Ntuli (SOUTH AFRICA). Much of the meeting centred round issues of governance and good practice with agenda items such as Strategy, Planning and Reform, Resource Management, Budget issues, Assembly matters and many others which topics will be of little interest to InterManager members. However, following is a short report which seeks to highlight the areas more directly relevant to our business, and in particular, recommendations made by the major IMO Committees to the Council.
- REPORT OF THE LEGAL COMMITTEE. The Council noted:
- further reconstitution of the HNS Correspondence Group until the next session to address the complexities of the Convention and solve the requirement for an internationally coordinated approach as to ratification and implementation;
- that fair treatment of Seafarers in the event of a maritime accident was the subject of a survey commissioned by ITF and ISMA which concluded that advice on implementation of the guidelines for any State that requested it should be considered. Progressive removal of legislation targeting seafarers and imposing sanctions on them needed further consideration whilst TCC support and assistance should be provided and seafarers given greater training and awareness of their rights;
- the entry into force of the Nairobi International Convention on the removal of Wrecks, 2007 on 14 April 2015 noting that further ratifications will alleviate the administrative burdens related to the issuance of certificates to non-Party ships, currently shared amongst the Contracting States;
- the inclusion in its agenda for the next session of an item: ‘Analysis and consideration of recommendations to reduce administrative burdens in IMO instruments as identified by the SG-RAR (Steering group on Reduction of Administrative Requirements);
- that there had been an Inter-agency High-level meeting to address unsafe mixed migration by sea. Views were expressed that the issue is a global problem and that SAR systems maintained by the shipping community are not designed for rescuing hundreds of thousands of people drifting on small, unseaworthy boats left in shipping lanes rather the Legal Committee should review the international legal regime dealing with it. In addition, the issue will also be dealt with by MSC, FAL and the Council as a matter of priority since the situation of migrants at sea is desperate with urgent action needed;
- the concerns expressed by some delegations that the definition of ‘distress’ needs to be reviewed; and
- an offer by the delegations of MALTA and ITALY, supported by DENMARK, to coordinate an intersessional discussion on a study of the current legal regime and gaps that need to be addressed.
In summary, the Council approved the report of LEG102 and will forward it, together with comments and recommendations, to the twenty-ninth regular session of the Assembly which will convene at the end of November 2015.
- REPORT OF THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION COMMITTEE. The Council:
- endorsed the holding of a three-day intersessional meeting of the Working Group on Further Technical and Operational Measures for Enhancing the Energy Efficiency of International Shipping, during the week preceding CCC2 (14 – 18 September 2015);
- noted actions taken by the Committee in relation to the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention. Importantly, this included agreement that ships which install BWM systems approved in accordance with the current Guidelines (G8), should not be penalised;
- took note of air pollution and energy efficiency measures for ships and the progress made by the Ad Hoc Experts Working Group on Facilitation of Transfer of Technology for ships. These include exhaust gas cleaning systems, the NOx Technical Code 2008, minimum propulsion power to maintain ships manoeuvrability in adverse conditions and EEDI survey / certification plus the methods of calculation for EEDI of new ships;
- noted the submission from the MARSHALL ISLANDS calling for a quantifiable reduction target for GHG emissions from international shipping but decided that the priority should remain that of finalising a data collection system in order to determine how best to reduce emissions.
The Council also noted that the Committee had adopted:
- the introduction and parts II-A and II-B of the Polar Code, together with associated amendments to MARPOL; and
- an extension to the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait PSSA (Particular Sensitive Sea Area.
- REPORT OF THE MARITIME SAFETY COMMITTEE. The Council noted the adoption by the Committee of the new mandatory international Code of Safety for Ships using gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code), also amendments to the 1974 SOLAS Convention together with a mandatory code, the 1978 and 1988 SOLAS Protocols, and the STCW Convention, with expected entry into force date of 1 January 2017.
The Council also noted:
- actions taken on issues related to maritime security, in particular that of cybersecurity, also the performance review and audit of LRIT Data Centres;
- progress made on Goal Based Standards (GBS) verification audits for consideration at MSC 96, also that on issues related to passenger ship safety;
- the decisions taken in relation to piracy and armed robbery against ships which include a provision for National points of Contact (NPoC) for communication of relevant information, clarification on the extent of piracy High Risk Areas (HRA) as defined in BMP4 and revised interim recommendations for flag States regarding the use of privately contracted armed security personnel on board ships in the High Risk Area;
- the outcome of the special session on unsafe mixed migration by sea also the decision to add it to MSC96’s agenda; and
- information provided by the delegation of INDIA on the frequency of piracy attacks east of longitude 65 degrees east of the HRA.
- PROTECTION OF VITAL SHIPPING LANES. The Council:
- expressed concern for the number of attacks and boarding of ships in the Gulf of Guinea;
- thanked contributors to the IMO West and Central Africa Maritime Security Trust Fund;
- invited continuing contributions to the IMO West and Central Africa Maritime Security Trust Fund and Djibouti Code Trust Fund;
- welcomed improvement to the piracy situation off the coast of SOMALIA and in the Indian Ocean; and
- expressed concern for innocent seafarers still held in captivity.
The Council expressed appreciation to the littoral States of INDONESIA, MALAYSIA and SINGAPORE for the timely implementation of the various components of the Cooperative Mechanism in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.
- WORLD MARITIME UNIVERSITY. The Council expressed its appreciation to the Government of SWEDEN for recognising the University as having the power to confer degrees in SWEDEN and noted the appointment of Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry (DOMINICA) as the new President of the University. The Council welcomed efforts by the University’s management to attract additional income.
- IMO INTERNATIONAL MARITIME LAW INSTITUTE (IMLI). The Council welcomed the Report by the Government Board and reaffirmed continuing support to the Institute, in recognition of its success in maintaining high academic standards in the field of international maritime law. With regard to Budget, council noted the exemplary ‘unqualified’ nature of the most recent audit on the Institute’s financial performance.
- APPOINTMENT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL. The Council elected Mr Ki-tack Lim of the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, one of the six nominees, as Secretary-General of IMO for the four-year period from 1 January 2016.
Captain Paddy McKnight END